Angelica Ross, a transgender businesswoman and actress best known for her role on the hit FX series Pose, has been named as the host for the upcoming 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum on LGBTQ Issues.
The forum, scheduled for Sept. 20, is sponsored by GLAAD, One Iowa, The Gazette, and The Advocate, will feature 10 Democrats seeking their party’s nomination to take on President Donald Trump this year.
Ross will join GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis on stage for the event, which is intended to shine a light on issues that have received short-shrift in the three Democratic debates held thus far.
The candidates who have announced they will participate in the forum are: former Vice President Joe Biden, former Housing Secretary Julián Castro, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, author Marianne Williamson, and Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).
Each candidate will be asked to lay out their plans and vision for improving LGBTQ acceptance in society and ensuring equal treatment under the law.
“This LGBTQ Presidential Forum is a pivotal moment in the 2020 election cycle. It’s the first time that LGBTQ issues will be exclusively discussed by 2020 presidential candidates on a national stage,” Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and CEO of GLAAD, said in a statement. “We look forward to hearing how the 2020 candidates plan to reverse the attacks and rollbacks of the Trump Administration and put LGBTQ Americans on a course to 100% acceptance.”
A recent report by Real Clear Politics shows that coverage of LGBTQ issues in mainstream media has sharply dropped during the Trump administration, underscoring the importance of a forum to address those issues that are not typically brought up in debates aired on major broadcast or cable networks.
According to GLAAD, the Trump administration has waged 124 separate attacks — in policy and in rhetoric — against the LGBTQ community, including the recent Defense Department restrictions placed on transgender service members, which critics say is effectively a ban, and the president’s stated opposition to the Equality Act.
Exit polls from the 2018 midterms showed that about 6% of voters identified as LGBTQ, meaning that Democratic candidates’ positions on various LGBTQ issues could influence the choice of a critical bloc of voters.
GLAAD has also announced that multi-platinum recording artist Billy Gilman will perform the National Anthem at the forum, which will be live-streamed from Coe College’s Sinclair Auditorium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.